My family just moved to Kansas from northern Illinois shortly after I got into DH racing, and even though there are no DH trails anywhere near me I am dieing to get better. I have raced in a few midwest DH races with some ok results, however I want to get better. I am currently building a pump track, ride my fixie as much as possible, as well as ride street in Kansas City when i can. But what else can i do to stay at the same level or riding and even become a better DH racer given my situation? I will only be able to ride DH maybe a few times this summer and after that even less as i will be a poor college student in Chicago without a car.
Oh yeah, there are no BMX tracks or single track anywhere near me to ride.
Be creative. Joey Schusler, once one of my SMBA monkeys, then a top junior racer, now rocking the World Cups.
It sounds like you’re on the right track. Your mix of training and passion will get you far.
As a matter of fact: Some of the best DH riders I know are from Florida. What those guys lack in elevation they make up for with technical terrain and heart. And: The guys on the Nebraska Downhill Racing Team are bad ass!
Let’s break this down. To be a good DH racer, you need the following abilities. Note that none of these require specific terrain.
Great technical skills. Cornering, pump, drops, jumps. The whole quiver. Between your pump track, some cornering drills and urban riding, you can be dialed.
Awesome sprinting and high-end pedaling fitness. That means intervals — the key to being a Tough Guy, but so vicious most people won’t do ’em.
Overall mobility and strength. Dude, if you do one of James Wilson’s programs, you’ll show up stronger than most guys who live in Whistler!
Read lines and carry speed. Where you ride matters less than how you ride. Look ahead. Get used to going as fast as you can.
Pin it HARD for 3-7 minutes while maintaining flow. Practice actual racing conditions, in terms of length and brutality. Again, where you train matters less than HOW you train. During the winter we do some amazing riding on the CU campus. Set up a course and pin it!
Confidence. Do your homework (above). Watch the great riders on video (perfect during trainer interval sessions). Imagine how they’re feeling. Put yourself in their place. Build the braaap circuits between your brain and body. Precise visualization will help you more than random DH riding!
Go forth and rip!!!